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Drama students devise WWII themed production

Students performing scenes from The Ugly Carnival

Drama students at Sunderland College are performing a hard-hitting show based on the illicit relationships that occurred during the occupation of France in World War Two.

‘The Ugly Carnival’ depicts the vilification of French men and women who fraternised with the enemy and how these relationships were originally formed.

Performed by foundation degree and BTEC drama students, ‘The Ugly Carnival’ is an original devised stage production and uses a combination of physical theatre and multimedia to portray the historical subject matter.

Sheree Snowdon, Sunderland College’s curriculum leader for visual and performing arts, said: “Working on a project of this nature has been a fabulous experience for the students.  Not only have they been able to develop their performance skills, but to analyse such a brutal event in history has made them discuss current events in the world around us. It has enabled them to question the world we live in and how humans treat each other.”

The drama students will be using physical theatre techniques which they have developed throughout their studies.

Sheree added: “The students have looked at the different events which would lead to people fraternising with the enemy during this time, and we hope a contemporary audience can make comparisons to the present day. The performance takes the form of a series of small scenes using music and media as the backdrop, each scene telling a different story of the time.”

Sunderland College offers performing arts courses in dance, drama, music and music technology, across a range of levels. It is also launching new courses in technical theatre for further education and higher education students in September.

In addition to practical and theoretical lessons, students often take part in workshops led by professional performing arts companies, such as critically acclaimed Frantic Assembly and North East-based organisation Fertile Ground, to hone their skills.

Sheree said: “We are very proud of the collaborative process our Foundation Degree Drama and BTEC Extended Diploma Drama students have undertaken and the level of professionalism that has been demonstrated. All scenes have been created by the students, making this an even more poignant performance.”

‘The Ugly Carnival’ will be performed at Sunderland College’s state-of-the-art Visual and Performing Arts building, Bede Campus on Tuesday, January 20. Open to members of the public, a free matinee will take place at 1.30pm followed by an evening performance at 7.30pm with tickets priced at £5.

Tickets must be reserved in advance for both performances. Please contact sheree.snowdon@sunderlandcollege.ac.uk for tickets and more information.

Sunderland College is holding open evenings this month for people interested in studying drama and other A-Level and vocational courses. Visit our events section for more information.

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